As recently as Feb. 11, San Antonio John Jay quarterback Jacob Zeno was a name that quite easily fit into the under-the-radar category.
A three-star pro-style passer, Zeno’s only offers prior to that point stemmed from Pennsylvania, North Texas, UTSA, SMU and Texas Tech. Fast forward to the present day and Zeno’s collection of 17 invitations includes Georgia, Arkansas, Baylor, Arizona, Missouri, Indiana and Florida, which is an offer he said blew him away. Eight of the aforementioned 17 offers rolled in throughout a brief 10-day period in late February, so Zeno’s transition from flying under the radar to blossoming into a national name has essentially happened overnight.
“It’s been great. It’s been a blessing, but I don’t really let that get to me,” Zeno told Burnt Orange Nation of his recent rise on the recruiting trail. “This is just the beginning, I’ve still got to keep working hard and keep my head down because my goal is to make it into the Hall of Fame. Once I do that, then I can relax.”
As rapid as Zeno’s rise may have been, however, the reigning Rivals 3 Strips Camp Quarterback MVP wasn’t take by surprise when the offers starting rolling in from prominent programs around the nation.
“I expected this,” Zeno said. “For me, it was just a matter of time of when it was going to happen, but I’ve been working hard my whole life so I expected this.”
Unlike before, or at least to a much higher degree these days, Zeno has options.
For Zeno, that means he can, of course, be much more selective with the programs he strongly considers, and the 6’2, 181-pound prospect has an idea of what he wants to see from the program he ultimately pens his signature with.
“I would like to see brotherhood with the team. Good team chemistry,” Zeno said of what boxes a team will have to check to earn his pledge. “I need a place where I have good relationships with the coaches and they’re going to mentor me on and off the field. And I would need a coach who can help with development and get me to the next level.”
Thus far, those are boxes each program that’s extended an offer is striving to check.
“Everybody, really,” Zeno said of the schools that are pushing the hardest at this point. ”And so far, the team chemistry has been great with everybody.”
With the intention to take the process slowly and evaluate all of his options, Zeno will make return trips to Texas Tech and Baylor in the near future, and has plans to tour Georgia, Florida, and Arkansas, as well. He’s also previously visited Texas, Oklahoma State, SMU and UTSA. As far as his official visits are concerned, though, Zeno said he’s not sure which programs he’ll tour when he reaches that point in the process during the summer and on into his senior season.
Set to become an early enrollee, Zeno’s transition from a high school standout to becoming a college newcomer by this time next year will take place quickly, quite similarly to his rise as a recruit. When that time comes, Zeno detailed what he’ll bring to whichever college program he calls home following his senior season.
“I’m a hard-working player. I’m not going to quit. I’m a good leader,” Zeno said. “I make every throw. When the play breaks down, I’m able to make plays with my feet and still hit my guys, and I can also run, too. I can read every defense, coverages, everything.”
In 2017, Zeno utilized that skill set to the tune of 1,957 yards and 18 touchdowns through the air, and another 188 yards and four scores with his legs. Zeno is currently ranked as the No. 15 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 73 player in Texas, per the 247Sports Composite. If Zeno’s recent influx of offers is a sign of things to come, expect his name to continue rising throughout the recruiting rankings, as well.